Cubs' Garza shows his stuff to Brewers, scouts

Andrew Wagner, The Sports XChange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- With the trade deadline a month away and the Chicago Cubs hovering near the bottom of the National League Central, there is plenty of interest in Matt Garza.
The numerous scouts mixed in with the 31,377 at Miller Park walked away impressed as the right-hander allowed one run and eight hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts as the Cubs defeated Milwaukee 7-2 on Thursday.
Garza has won two of his last three starts and has an 0.81 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his last 22 innings.
"His last three starts have been as good as anybody," Brewers manager Dale Sveum said.
That kind of stretch is only going to increase the volume of chatter, but Garza has brushed aside the speculation all season.
"Somebody asked me today, 'Well, do you sit by your phone,'" Garza said. "I said no. No phone calls, no worries, guys. I'm not too worried about it, just going to keep plugging away every five days.
"My job is to get ready for every five days, not for (the front office) but for the 24 other guys in here."
Garza also pitched in on offense, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored, part of a Cubs' attack that capitalized on another shaky start by Wily Peralta and another sloppy effort by the Brewers' defense.
For the second consecutive game, Milwaukee committed two errors; this time, both came in the third inning when Chiacgo opened up the game.
Starlin Castro opened the third with a single and stole second on Nate Schierholtz's strikeout. Milwaukee left fielder Logan Schafer, starting in place of injured Ryan Braun, made the first error of the inning when he dropped Ryan Sweeney's fly ball, which drove in Castro to make it 3-0.
Anthony Rizzo flied out to center for the second out and the inning appeared to be over when Brian Bogusevic grounded out to third. But Juan Francisco dropped Aramis Ramirez's throw, putting runners at the corners for Dioner Navarro, who ripped Peralta's first offering to right for his seventh home run of the season and a 6-0 Cubs lead.
"We took advantage of their errors," Sveum said. "That three-run homer was huge. To be able to get all those left-handers in the lineup and have everybody contribute was huge."
That inning doomed Peralta (5-9) to his eighth loss in his last 12 starts and halted the momentum generated from his last outing, when he threw seven shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves last Friday.
"He didn't pitch as well today (as he had the last time out)," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He didn't pitch as bad as the numbers showed. He really should have given up one earned run today and that's not too bad. We played really poorly behind him. He didn't make pitches, he didn't pitch as well as he did last time, but I was glad he came out and at least kept us in the ballgame and was able to give us five innings."
Peralta, up and down in his first full season as a starter, was erratic but not overly wild in his 17th start of the season and third against the Cubs. He allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings, but only three runs were earned.
Peralta struck out two, walked one and was charged with a wild pitch.
"I've been through this the whole year," Peralta said. "Sometimes I make a good pitch and they get a bloop single. I've been better the last couple starts. It's a little bit of bad luck, a little bit of everything."
The Brewers managed just two base runners through the first three innings and didn't get a hit until the fourth when Ramirez singled to center with one out. The Brewers got on the board in the sixth when Schafer's double to right scored Jean Segura to make it 7-1.
Francisco homered for the third time in as many games in the eighth inning.
NOTES: The Cubs are 4-19 in their last 23 games at Miller Park. ... Braun, on the disabled list with an injured right hand, swung a bat Tuesday and felt soreness on Wednesday but was going to try again Thursday, according to Roenicke. ... Jorge Soler, Chicago's No. 3 minor league prospect, will miss the next four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his left leg. Soler was hitting .281 with eight home runs, 13 doubles and 35 RBI with Class A Daytona but has not played since June 13. ... Carlos Gomez took batting practice on Thursday and could return to action Friday when the Brewers travel to Pittsburgh. Gomez missed the entire Cubs series after injuring his shoulder when crashing into the wall against the Braves last Sunday. ... The Brewers have committed four errors in their last two games and are sixth in the NL with 52 this season.

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